Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Getting into college just got harder.

On ABC World News Tonight tomorrow there is apparently going to be an "important" story that "every parent must see." It's about how blogs are bad! And how it is the center of life for teenagers (and sometimes even younger!) and how teens take on new personas, talk about doing things they aren't (or are?) really doing--all without shame. Kids are putting themselves in danger without even knowing it.

Good thing I already went to college. And grad school. And have a job.

It's funny how pervasive this issue is lately. There was an article on msn today, and also one in The Post. Apparently, human resources departments, hiring managers and admissions officials are checking out blogs before offering jobs or admission to applicants. They are taking what these individuals say on their sites--and not what they're capable of or what they've accomplished--and using it against them.

Some are decrying this as an invasion of privacy. Kids are getting angry with their parents when they "discover" their MySpace profiles or find their blogs. Is it an invasion of privacy when you put your thoughts and ideas and emotions out there for the world to see? When I was younger (seemingly decades ago) we had journals and diaries that we "hid" in our closets or under our beds. They had those flimsy little locks on them that, if you bought the diary at Hallmark (like many of us were prone to do), had the same combination as your bff. Your brother sneaking into your room and reading your diary? Invasion of privacy. Your mom "putting away laundry" and finding and reading your journal? Invasion of privacy. Your dad stumbling upon a recently viewed website and finding your MySpace profile, then linking to sites of all your friends? Not so much.

While it's not, in my opinion, an invasion of privacy, I still take issue with penalizing people for expressing themselves. Is it really fair to penalize kids for freedom of expression? I mean, I've read some Xanga postings of some 12 year olds (I know 12 year olds, unfortunately). And they are far more provocative and--I'll say it--unwholesome than anything I personally say, think, do, or write. But what if kids are using this as a means of expression? What if it is, actually, creative expression? Why are we stifling such expression, especially in an age where reading and writing (albeit awful and full of acronyms and computer speak) is so uncommon?

On a side note: How cool would it be to have that job in the college admissions office where you scour Facebook, MySpace, Friendster, Xanga, etc. in search of pages of applicants?

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